‘Digital channels empower agents on high street’

Agents on the high street are being empowered by technology to provide improved levels of customer service in stores, according to Tui. Chief marketing officer Katie

McAlister said Tui takes a “blended approach”, with customers offered the choice of walking into stores, going online or engaging with its call centre or online chat service. “We don’t mind where people

book because we have all bases covered and when they want assurance or expert advice they will go looking for it. “We are giving agents more tools

to enable them to manage more of the customer journey. “We’ve got to be confident that we have brilliant products and that

the customer will come back if they walk out of the shop, whether they book online or on the app. “We have to have courage in our

strategy and empower our people to execute it. Tat’s empowerment of the teams in the offline channel with digital.” McAlister added: “I’m always

super-proud every time I spend time in retail because genuinely our customers love our travel agents. It’s fantastic and humbling to see.”

Agents warned against charging service fees

Charging service fees may be common practice for some online agents, but travel firms were warned of the dangers of following suit. Panellists were asked for their views on the practice of charging

Katie McAlister, Tui

for services such as making a booking, adding a bag to an airline ticket or using a contact centre. Virgin Atlantic vice-president

for customer service Daniel Kerzner said Virgin does not charge customers for services offered by its contact centre. “Where consumers get really

frustrated is when they have to pay to complain or to be on hold before someone picks up,” he said. “So, we have to be smart about

how we do it. We have to give customers the easiest options to make a booking. We also need to be flexible, so if that person has a question and wants to call, be clear what it is we are charging for. Tui’s chief marketing officer

Katie McAlister said: “We don’t charge a fee to book a holiday. And our prices are really transparent. “We do have different prices in

our shops. So customers can decide whether they want that expertise or not, and that’s part of that choice model.”

Ocean Holidays sees offline growth

A renaissance is taking place among travel clients choosing to talk to someone before making their purchase, Travel Weekly’s Business Breakfast was told. Daniel Ox of Ocean Holidays said

the company had made a success of deploying technology and processes to assist its contact centre agents to transact over the phone from leads driven online. And he said the group’s Winged

Boots concierge travel service is growing at 40% a year and has a 75% repeat customer rate having done no digital advertising in its eight years. Te brand does not have a

customer reservation management system and launched its first website only last year, said Ox. “Our agents’ contacts are still in black We offer a better

service over the phone – there’s a renaissance in people wanting to speak to other humans

books siting on their desks. “All of its advertising is meeting

people, it’s referrals. Teir marketing strategy is events, it’s not Google AdWords. Absolutely, there’s a space for offline and it’s a growing space for us.” Ox said Ocean Holidays has a

sales process in which every web lead is placed into one of 18 segments and funnelled to the most relevant individual in the contact centre to

deal with their enquiry. “Clients who call the contact

centre are highly researched and know what they are looking for. So it’s a challenge to educate our staff to make sure they are more knowledgeable than our clients. “We make sure that each customer

is matched to someone who is capable of delivering the best experience and best product to that customer. “We call it sales acceleration;

allowing our agents to make bookings quickly and efficiently all through technology and the way we have automated processes through the contact centre. “We just feel we offer a beter

service over the phone, and I think there’s a renaissance in people wanting to speak to other human beings.”

30 MAY 2019 Daniel Ox, Ocean Holidays 71

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80